The Federal Government has asked all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) implementing increases in salaries, allowances and fringe benefits without its approval to stop that forthwith.
The Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Mr Ekpo Nta, gave the warning at a Two-Day Training Workshop for Salaries Inspectors in Abuja.
The workshop is for the execution of the Phase II of the 2022 Salary Inspection Programme. According to Nta, the Commission over the years , through the salary inspection programmes, found out that some agencies are implementing unapproved salaries, allowances and fringe benefits.
“I want to unambiguously, state that even where the establishment Acts of any fully funded, partially funded and self-funded federal agencies allow its board to determine its remuneration.
It can only do so after statutory input in line with Section 3(1) of the NSIWC Act 1999. This is irrespective of whether their establishment Act predates 1993 or not. They are bound by our Act in the same way and manner that the Public Procurement Act 2007, the ICPC Act 2000, Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, etc upon enactment. Whether pre-dating or post-dating their establishment Acts, apply to all federal government agencies.
The Chairman said it was based on this that the federal government issued two circulars signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. He said the circular directed all MDAs to desist from implementing any increase without NSIWC’s input, and after approvals by the government, such approvals must be conveyed by NSIWC.
“The country will not accept fiscal indiscipline where the personnel budget and non-regular allowances of the overhead budgets for public service employees are not controlled and spiral out of control without a corresponding increase in productivity, especially in self-funded institutions. This can be attributed to unregulated recruitment, implementation of the National Minimum Wage etc.,” Nta said.
The NSIWC boss reiterated that the commission had through this inspection and other activities saved the government over N400 billion yearly which would have been abused, wasted or misappropriated. He said this year’s programme would cover agencies which had obtained approvals to implement new salaries, allowances and fringe benefits within the last six months.
He said they include the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and their parastatals and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and their parastatals. Nta urged the salary inspectors to enrich themselves during the workshop, go into the field and carry out the inspection with dedication and zero tolerance for compromise.
He warned that any inspector found acting contrary to set rules and regulations would be sanctioned appropriately for criminal breach of trust or unethical conduct. He then solicited support and corporation of the selected agencies for the success of the exercise which was a statutory requirement.